For many students, developing to become a good reader means improving reading phonics, reading comprehension, or having other reading deficiencies. For other students, it may mean having access to quality teaching and materials that will support the development of a good reading program.

Leveled reading is a literacy program in which teachers pair students with books that best match their reading abilities. As students’ reading abilities improve, teachers place students in a suitable leveled reading that matches their current reading level.

An important element in the development of a good reading program is supplementary reading of books that offer the best level of support and challenge. When books are appropriate to readers, then students can obtain reading confidence and successfully proceed in developing their leveled reading.

How does leveled reading blend in today?

Usually, teachers will select a variety of books about the same topic, but which deal with the reading information in an easier or more challenging way, according to the student’s reading ability.

Depending on the leveling program the teacher uses, these books may be systematically labeled  in alphabetical, numerical, or according to grade level. The school collection of books should be leveled by the same scale or system and be big enough to accommodate the student’s leveled reading progress.

How can I provide a context for leveled reading? 

Currently, most teachers teach reading in groups of 3-5 students who are at or about the same reading abilities. The teacher plans and incorporates a small group of children who are similar in their reading development at a particular point in time and share a brief group-reading lesson each day. When teachers usually lead their group of readers, this process is commonly called “guided reading.”

To illustrate, a teacher selects a book that is suitable for the group and “adjusts” the text selection with an introduction. The introduction is short but critical because it “sets the stage” for reading and supports leveled reading comprehension from the beginning. Later, students of the group read the whole text softly to themselves at the same time. 

In virtual settings, students can read out loud by reading to their dog which research has revealed can improve their reading. During reading, the teacher observes behavior and interacts with individuals. Afterwards, the teacher makes several reading assessments like a reading record based on observation. Using your experiences in teaching students, you will find that you can place books along a continuum of difficulty to help all levels of students enjoy reading.

SLCA, 2021